CONCERTS WITH THE FRON MALE VOICE CHOIR
In March I had the pleasure of performing with the Fron Male Voice Choir in two lovely concerts. The choir are celebrating their 65th year and it was a great to join them as their special guest again – the first time I had performed with them was during my early studies at the RNCM.
The choir are based in Froncysyllte (pronounced vron-cuss-ulth tay!) which is a small village at the eastern entrance to the Vale of Llangollen. Set in beautiful countryside in the Northeast corner of Wales, Thomas Telford built his famous aqueduct to carry the Llangollen Canal across the River Dee. Thousands of visitors come to this World Heritage Site each year to marvel at his engineering skills and the groundbreaking work of the local iron foundries 200 years ago that made the project possible. The choir was formed at a meeting in 1946, to compete in the first International Eisteddfod that had recently been established in the nearby town of Llangollen, planned to be held for the first time in 1947. In 1977 the choir were the first to ‘do the double’ and won the National Eisteddfod of Wales and the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod in the same year!
The Universal Music Group signed the Choir to release the album Voices of the Valley in November 2006 and it became the fastest selling classical record of all time, achieving Gold status in three days and has since sold over half a million copies. Further albums followed Voices of the Valley … Home, Encore and Memory Lane. The record sales earned them the title of the “world’s oldest boy band!”
WILLIAM ASTON HALL CONCERT
The first concert we performed at took place at the William Aston Hall which is the largest concert hall in Wrexham. The concert was organised by the Wrexham Supporters Trust as part of their fundraising compaign. Funds are required to help clear the debts inherited when they became the first supporters trust to take on the running of a professional football club, (taking over Wrexham Football Club on 30th November 2011). The choir together with their Musical Director Leigh Mason and accompanist Jason Ellis put on an amazing show and it was a great pleasure to join them on the stage and to perform such wonderful music. There was a very warm Welsh welcome for me from an enthusiastic audience.
ST DAVIDS DAY CONCERT, LIVERPOOL ANGLICAN CATHEDRAL
Our second concert together was in the magnificent setting of Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral. The concert was a fundraising event for Age UK Wirral. The programme included a mixed repertoire, of traditional and classic songs and Welsh hymns. The 60 strong choir with Musical Director Leigh Mason and accompanist Jason Ellis were in fantastic form on the night and celebrated St David’s Day in great musical style. It is always very special when I perform in my home city and it was truly a night to remember and I had a great time performing such a varied programme. There was a huge audience which filled the vast space in the cathedral creating a warm atmosphere and they gave us a brilliant standing ovation at the end of the concert. The concert raised £4000 for the dementia charity. Thanks to Lynne Hamilton from Age UK Wirral and everyone who helped with the organisation of the concert to make it a very special occasion.
It was a real honour to share the stage with the Fron – they have a wonderful camaraderie and a deep pride in honouring their musical traditions through all of their hard work …It is not hard to see why they are one of the most distinguished Male Voice Choirs.